I write to you having just arrived in the Indonesian capital Jakarta for the 5th World Islamic Economic Forum.
We’re here at the premier gathering of the Islamic business world as part of the Muslim Council of Britain’s delegation led by Sir Iqbal Sacranie.
Our main mission is to listen and learn, and also make contacts for the Scottish-Islamic Investment Expo we’re organising this October. That event will be seeking to increase trade links between Scotland and the Muslim world, and explore the possibilities Islamic finance could bring to our country.
The journey here gave me a new perspective on the term “Far East” – it is far away. It also crystillised the opportunity that exists for us particularly in the Middle East. It is there and China that liquidity still exists, a precious thing at any time, even more so at the moment. There have been some quite well documented moves to promote Scotland in China. The same can’t be said about the Muslim world, despite the opportunity, and despite the many attractions that Scotland would have over there. The Middle East is half the distance away that China is.
Tomorrow are the pre-forum events focussing on women and youth in business. Not seen much of Jakarta yet, but what we have seen are plenty of billboard featuring celebs back home – Premiership footballers, Leona Lewis and Daniel Craig in the journey from airport to hotel. The cultural influence is quite something.
Posted by Osama Saeed